Regain of tension in Hong Kong. Thousands of officials gathered on the evening of Friday, July 2, in central Hong Kong to express their support for the protest movement that struck the megalopolis of southern China for two months. A first from a sector known for its efficiency as well as its discretion and conservatism. The authorities warned their employees that they risked nothing more than a dismissal if they went out on the streets.
Meetings planned this weekend
Wearing black masks in order to hide their faces, the officials came to peacefully grow the ranks of the protesters gathered in the business district of the city. Health workers also called for protests and employees of banks and financial companies rallied Thursday night.
Adding to the climate of tension, the authorities announced the arrest on Thursday of seven men and one woman charged with possession of explosives. A police source told AFP that the founder of a banned Hong Kong independence party, Andy Chan, was among those arrested and that a "gas bomb" had been discovered during the raid.
Violence "absolutely inadmissible"
In a thinly veiled threat, the Chinese People's Army on Wednesday broadcast a video showcasing an "anti-riot" exercise, while senior officers described the violence in Hong Kong as "absolutely inadmissible".
Globally peaceful, demonstrations have also sometimes led to violence between radical protesters and law enforcement. Hong Kong's pro-Beijing executive and the central government this week hardened the tone of the movement by prosecuting arrested protesters or implicitly threatening a much tougher response.
The "Gaullish village against the Roman empire"
For Marie Holzman, sinologist and president of Solidarité Chine, questioned by France 24, this protest "annoys" the secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping. "It's the real Gaullish village against the Roman Empire, but in the end, will the Gaullish village hold on? Nothing is safe," she says.
The protest movement, which initially crystallized over the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, extended to other demands, such as the extension of democratic freedoms or the resignation of
local leader Carrie Lam.
Unauthorized rallies are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, as well as a general strike on Monday.
With AFP and Reuters